Spring 2017 Human Trafficking Academy

February 27 - March 3


Human Trafficking Academy:

"A fantastic week with stimulating discussions, knowledgeable instructors, and gracious hosts!""


St. Thomas Law’s Human Trafficking Academy held its one-week long training on February 27 through March 3, 2017. The Academy, directed by law professor Dr. Roza Pati, welcomed over 50 participants, from various parts of the country: Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Wisconsin, Colorado, Alabama, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, and a few foreign participants from Canada and the UK. They represented various professional groups: attorneys; public defenders/prosecutors; law enforcement; social service providers; students and faith-based organizations.

The training consisted of 21 courses taught by top-level experts and professionals of various disciplines. The Academy offered cutting-edge courses empowering participants with knowledge and skills to actively and effectively engage in anti-trafficking work.

The Academy, --one of its kind--through its multidisciplinary and immersion approach, brings together professionals of various disciplines and trains them to work together complementing one another’s work in identifying and protecting human trafficking victims, investigating and prosecuting perpetrators, strengthening cooperation amongst anti-trafficking institutions and increasing awareness in order to prevent and combat human trafficking.


Center front: Kyla (a survivor of human trafficking), Dr. Roza Pati (right) and Michele Gillen (left),

Participants of the Human Trafficking Academy 2017


During the week, the Academy hosted the renowned South Florida anchor and investigative reporter, Michele Gillen. She discussed the role of the media in combating human trafficking and shared the story of Kyla, a survivor of human trafficking, featured in her short documentary report titled “Trapped.”

Participants had the opportunity to be trained by a human trafficking survivor. Barbara Amaya, a survivor of domestic minor sex trafficking, shared her experience and transformational story. At the age of 12, Ms. Amaya was forced into sex trafficking in Washington, DC and later on the streets of New York City, for over 10 years. In her course titled, “Dismantling the Cult of Human Trafficking: A Survivor’s Perspective,” Ms. Amaya discussed the similarities between domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) and cult recruitment, and ways to address and break the existing trauma bond experienced by DMST victims


Barbara Amaya, Author, Advocate, and Survivor


Academy participants found the training to be exceptional and highly educational. Here are a few of their comments:

“The course was fabulous—the curriculum well thought out. The speakers were well prepared and relevant. I am disappointed it came to an end so quickly. Dr. Pati and her staff were very welcoming, hospitable and genuine.”

“This program was AMAZING. We learned so much. The topics were great and we really enjoyed [them] and had our eyes opened to many things we were unaware of.”

“I would be interested in additional training offered by the Academy. This academy was excellent! I think additional levels of the academy would be a great way for those within different fields to come together again, and learn from each other.”

“Thank you for putting together this training on human trafficking. It was superbly executed and very educational. I appreciated the breadth of instruction on legal efforts, law enforcement actions and social services that target human trafficking. Thank you for bringing in such distinguished lecturers, and some exceptional public speakers such as Regina Bernadin, Michelle Gillen, Maria Jose Fletcher, Benjamin Widlanski, Brenda Mezick, Barbara Amaya, and Sean Sellers. I really enjoyed the entire week and appreciated the opportunity to network with professionals from across the country. Thank you, Professor Pati, for your tireless dedication to fighting human trafficking. It is truly inspiring!”

For more information and to join our efforts, please visit www.humantraffickingacademy.org or contact us at humantrafficking@stu.edu.